A judge has advised Mullingar neighbours to engage in peace talks to come to an arrangement over a noisy dog.
Thomas Martin of 48 Oaklawns brought the complaint under the Control of Dogs legislation against his neighbours Lorcan and Geraldine Byrne of 49 Oaklawns.
The two houses were separated by a walkway and fence, the court heard, and Mr Martin said his neighbour’s dog was often in the area between the houses, and barked incessantly at children, the postman, bin men, and delivery men.
The couple denied the dog was a nuisance and said none of the other 18 families in the estate had ever complained.
Their solicitor said Mr Martin was ‘noise intolerant’ and that his complaint had been unreasonable.
Mr Martin’s grandchildren were terrified of the collie which Mr and Mrs Byrne had bought on the recommendation of their five-year-old son’s speech therapist, to help him develop his language and improve his confidence.
He said he didn’t blame the dog and his own son had a Jack Russell terrier, Lucky, but the noise from the Byrne’s dog Patch, just over four feet from his own back door, was a major nuisance.
If the dog was in the back part of the garden, he wouldn’t mind.
It emerged that Mr Martin had previously complained to the council because the Byrnes wanted to install central heating which might create fumes in his garden and he admitted to having extreme difficulty with young people playing football in a green area behind his house, near Ardleigh.
He said children regularly climbed his wall and onto his shed to retrieve balls and he would prefer them to call to the house because if there was an accident he would be held responsible.
He said he had not approached his neighbours about the problem but his wife had on one occasion. When he complained to gardaí, they advised that he call the dog warden who in turn advised him to go to court.
Mrs Byrne said the dog had no access to the side corridor since Mr Martin’s complaint had arrived in May, but admitted it had been there a week ago when he returned home and had attempted to “have a go at” his grandchild but she said the child had provoked the dog.
Judge Olann Kelleher noted that the dog didn’t bark at night and keep Mr Martin awake, and on that basis he said he would make no order under the legislation.
However he advised that the families get into discussions “to modify the situation”.
“It’s not the Northern Ireland peace talks we’re dealing with here,” he said.
Inspector Kieran Keyes said the community sergeant would be willing to assist them.